North West Vietnam Photo Tour

The Vietnam Photo Tour is designed by Arnaud Foucard, a French Photographer who has been in Vietnam since 2000. He has visited many places in Vietnam and added thus in this package such highlights

Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary

The North West Vietnam Photo Tour is designed by Arnaud Foucard, a French Photographer who has been in Vietnam since 2000. He has visited many places in Vietnam and added thus in this package such highlights: Hanoi animated streets and architectural heritage; The traditional village of Duong Lam; Mu Cang’s rice terraces, a Vietnam National Heritage site; Sapa’s beautiful surrounding areas; Encounters with diverse ethnic minority groups; The Sunday ethnic markets of Y Ty and Muong Hum.

Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVE HANOI

Arrival day in Hanoi. For those who arrive early, we will go on an orientation tour around 3:30pm, followed by a photo review. Dinner to get acquainted with all participants and presentation of our journey from Hanoi to the Chinese border

DAY 2: HANOI PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

We will start the day at the Long Bien Bridge, designed by Eiffel. Reserved for two-wheeled vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the train passing in its center, this bridge is taken every morning by thousands of provincials coming to sell their products in the city, or on the Long Bien market situated just underneath it. We will then go walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, where Hanoians enjoy doing their physical exercises, and continue our exploration in the bustling 36 old streets and guilds of the old quarter. In the afternoon, we will walk up Phan Dinh Phung Street, which boasts Hanoi’s most beautiful colonial houses and several official buildings, and will pass by Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum before reaching the magnificent Temple of Literature. Dinner and night in Hanoi.

DAY 3: HANOI -> DUONG LAM -> MU CANG CHAI

We will leave Hanoi early in the morning to reach Mu Cang Chai in the late afternoon. On our way, about 60km from Hanoi, we will visit the traditional village of Duong Lam with its two-century old houses, reflecting how the Red River villages used to look like in the past. As we’ll move forward to our destination, the sceneries will become more and more spectacular, crossing stunning hilly landscapes, corn and manioc fields, tea plantations and after reaching Nghia Lo, we’ll come upon our first rice terraces. Dinner and homestay with a Thai family.

DAY 4: MU CANG CHAI PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

Mu Cang Chai holds some of the most impressive rice terraces in the country and is listed as a Vietnam National Heritage site. Throughout the day, we will have plenty of occasions to observe the H’mong people going about their daily lives and working in the fields. In the morning, we will visit Lao Chai village, and in the afternoon the La Pan Tan “Rice Canyon”. If the time permits, we will also visit the beautiful rice fields of Che Cu Nha. Dinner and homestay with a Thai family.

DAY 5: MU CANG CHAI -> SAPA

We will head for Sapa by going through the plains formed by Nam Na River. On our way, we will stop in a traditional Thai village overlooking a large rice field and surrounded by enormous bamboos groves. The road from Than Uyen to Sapa is superb, meandering through hills covered with tea bushes until reaching Tram Uyen passage, dominated by Fansipan Mountain, culminating at 3143m. We will make numerous stops along the way to capture these magnificent landscapes. Sapa, also called “the city in the clouds”, is an old climate station renown during the French colonization for its pure fresh air. Dinner and night in Sapa.

DAY 6: SAPA -> MUONG HUM

We will spend the morning strolling through the beautiful landscapes of Sapa Valley. We will then head towards Muong Hum with its equally breathtaking sceneries, alternating rice fields and ridged mountain passages, where we will see the activities of the ethnic minorities of the region: a lot of photo stops are to be expected on the way! Dinner and homestay with a Giay family

DAY 7: MUONG HUM -> Y TY -> MUONG HUM

We will start the day by heading to the weekly market of Y Ty, situated just across China, on the other side of the valley. The road to it as well as the encounters with the local population will inspire you. The market offers a multitude of colourful costumes and headcoverings from various ethnic groups, such as the Ha Nhi, Phu La, White Hmong…We will spend the afternoon discovering the mountainous landscapes and small villages surrounding Y Ty. Dinner and homestay with a Giay family.

DAY 8: MUONG HUM -> LAO CAI -> HANOI

We will wake up just next to the multicolor market of Muong Hum, which takes place every Sunday. Muong Hun is home to the Giay people, whose women wear flashy, colorful shirts. They are well-tried traders, as they serve as intermediaries between the mountain ethnic groups and the Vietnamese living in the valley. We will meet with many other minorities such as Black Hmongs, Red Dao women wearing their conical hats, Ha Nhi people or White Hmongs. We will take one last stroll before leaving for Lao Cai, where we’ll take a night train to Hanoi.

DAY 9: ARRIVE BACK HANOI

Upon arrival, we’ll freshen up with a little shower and have our last breakfast together. We will then proceed to a photography review, a Lightroom tutorial and debrief of our journey, before bidding each other farewell.

Notes

This tour takes place twice a year. We hold the first tour during the season of rice-transplantation, when rice terraces fill up with water, allowing young sprouts to show off their fluorescent green colors. The second tour follows the harvesting season, when the rice fields display their golden colors. During these two crucial periods of the rice cycle, cultivators spend their whole day working the fields, to the photographer’s delight… When we’ll be out of the rice fields, it will be to explore the various villages and markets of the region.

Additional Information

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Tour Ends

Hanoi

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Inclusions

Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind LOTUSSIA Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.

  • Car transfers.
  • Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
  • Local porter(s).
  • Accommodation.
  • Meals.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Bottled water.

Exclusions

Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.

  • Visa
  • Flight/Train tickets.
  • Accommodation pre/post trip.
  • International travel insurance.
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.

Tour Guide

Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.

Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

Trip Routes

Principally, LOTUSSIA Travel requires all the trip associates to know the destinations well by any means of traveling or enquiry to the local suppliers to figure out all the relative details of any trip. For adventure tours such as jungle trekking, mountain hiking, sea kayaking, river rafting or biking, cycling tours, LOTUSSIA Travel will never add any new routes into available schedule until survey or pre-view it.

Accommodation

LOTUSSIA Travel carefully choose all the hotels, guest-houses or homestays based on service quality, location, and characteristics, doing best to make the accommodations in the remote small places as comfortable as possible. Please bear in mind that hotels in Vietnam might not be in the same standard in other country. Generally hotels in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian, Hue…are much better than hotels and guest-houses in mountainous areas.

Meals

LOTUSSIA Travel take dinning as an indispensable experience to clients since it is an important part in Vietnamese culture. Therefore, LOTUSSIA Travel will not intend take clients to the most expensive restaurants but non-touristy local ones which offer delicious, local food, with nice or interesting atmosphere. The restaurants might be simple in the country but LOTUSSIA Travel guarantee is sanitary and cleanliness. Or even on our trek, we encourage our cook offer client food with new tastes from day to day. During adventure itineraries to mountainous or remote areas, there is sometimes no choice for hotel and restaurants. We will try our best to bring you the best taste of local food.

Drinks

As the tap water in Vietnam is undrinkable, LOTUSSIA Travel recommend clients to drink bottled water throughout your trip, or boiled water on treks. LOTUSSIA Travel offers bottle water all the day, and soft drinks like Cola, Sprite or Vietnamese Tea or if possible juice in restaurants (if mentionned in itinerary). This is not automatically included in the packages. In simple restaurant or on camping, LOTUSSIA Travel offers boiled water, instant coffee or juice, wrapped milk (Details are confirmed in bottom of your itinerary).

Vehicle

In most destinations of Vietnam, all the roads are well paved though the traffic is quite messed up like in Hanoi, Hai Phong… We use proper vehicles, car, minibus or coach in good condition based on the size of the groups. We use 4WD only on the rough road where the other vehicles could not pass through or based on clients requirement on overland journeys or treks. For cycling itineraries, we usually use our support minibus or minibus with support truck. For sea kayaking, river rafting trips, diving packages we use standard boat as support. Detailed information is provided on our service proposal.

We use drivers who are native or local of each travel destination and maintain good safety records for all trips. Most of our drivers can speak English but a little bit. This is just enough to understand basic words such as “time of departure”, “stop”, “restaurants”, “hotels”…If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture and information about sightseeing sites, booking a tour guide is highly recommended.

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